Home Articles Digging Information System

Digging Information System

Walid Khalf Sayeed Barakat

Walid Khalf Sayeed Barakat
Dept of Information
Technology, Medina
Municipality, Al Medina Al Munawara
[email protected]

Mohammed Abdul Mannan

Mohammed Abdul Mannan
Dept of Information Technology
Medina Municipality, Al Medina Al
[email protected]

Acity is usually the centre of education, trade, industry, cultural life, government, etc. It offers a variety of opportunities, which always has attracted people.

The increase in population or public needs inevitably leads to increase in both complexity of tasks that have to be planned and the information that has to be processed. One of such complex task is digging the ground safely, without any disruptions to utility services. This application is primarily developed, according to the needs of city Madinah. Al Madinah Al Munawarah also known as “City of Light” is second holiest city in the history of Islam attracting in numerous people as tourists & pilgrimage from the world throughout the year.

Due to increase in demand the city is continuously expanding results in designing of new utility elements. The study area in planning affairs requires Georeferenced information while digging any site. In order to look after the safety of utility elements already passing under the digging site and to ensure the future planning of network. It is necessary to communicate with all utility departments before digging the site.

In the earlier days, any digging site had to be mapped on paper and get approval from each utility department. This procedure was not only time consuming but also insecure. It has lot of disadvantages as compared to current online digging system.

Developments in both communications and computer have opened up new horizons to deal with such complex issues. Visualizations on web electronic market is considered as a new information revolution and tremendous amount of money and manpower have been invested in web based commerce systems. Integration of such technologies with GIS has resulted in the development new applications, the current developed system called Digging Information System can be held as an example.

The application has two major divisions based on access to application i.e. access by Internet and access by Intranet. There are about six utility departments (can be called external departments) that access this application through Internet. The Internet system works on Client/Server concept that involves splitting the application into tasks between server and client. This application has three components a Client, a Server and a Network (Hall 1994). This application holds a column for seventh department called as Amana. Amana department is the representative of other six departments (say internal departments), which works on Intranet.

The above system starts with login page and to authenticate users and their roles. Basically there are two types of roles played in action. One is contractor who initiates the new dig- order for a utility purpose and the other is Department which approves or rejects the order.

Initially every new dig-order will be in dormant stage, wherein all departments cannot see the order in the list of their pending orders except the representative department or owner department. Dormant orders are made active by the representative utility department after checking some validity conditions like contractor doesn’t hold any old penalties, digging path is rightly coordinated on ground, etc. Dormant orders are made active with a function called ‘ShowToAll’ available on application, Once the order is made active, it will be populated to all screens. All departments are subject to give their decision within 3 working days for this active order, which they can see in their list of pending orders.

Departments entitled to give their decision can use the supportive functions on application like viewing the digging path on Map with applicable spatial layers and quickbird image as background, order attributes and its coordinates on new dynamic pages, printable format of order with its location on map and important details etc. The details of the order are hyperlinked on dynamic pages. Moreover the decision on each order by each department can also be viewed.

All the external six departments give their decisions through Internet but the decision from seventh department (Amana) is result of second part of application called “Internal Application”, which is accessed through Intranet, and is developed with Oracle form and MapBasic programming. Six internal departments use this part and depending upon their decisions Amana give its decision. If any of six internal departments reject the order then Amana concludes its decision as rejection on external application (accessible though Internet). The department’s names and reasons for their rejection can be viewed by external departments on hyperlinked page in column list of Amana department.

Fig. 1 Regulations of each department

Fig. 2 New order form
Digging Information System has two divisions working on common Oracle database, they are external and internal.

The External part (Internet application) can be divided into two parts they are Mapping and Transaction part. Mapping Part has been programmed using MapX components of MapXtreme 3.0. The Spatial layers are available as Tab (*.Tab) or Workspace (*.wor), which are then converted into Geoset (*.gst). Transaction part holds complete business logic written in Visual Basic 6.0 and converted into dll (as Com object). The object performs communication with database in Oracle for data manipulation like creating, editing, adding, deleting records etc.

Decision to any digging project is given by 14 active departments. Seven of them are called Internal departments as they are located inside the Madinah Muncipality. They are Study & Supervision, Operation & Maintenance, Gardening, Valley & flowage, Execution & Development, and Baladiyat Subsidiary. The above six internal departments have been divided on the based of their relation and their dependency on Madinah municipality.

The other seven are called External Departments, which require internet to access the Digging System, they are Water, Electricity, Telecom, Traffic, Transport and Civil Defence. Since the internal department are local to Madinah Municipality, an Intranet based application is developed to carry out the process, which is called as Internal System. For external departments an Internet based application is developed called as External System. Both the systems have one common database. If any one of the 14 departments rejects the dig order then order is meant to be rejected.

The combined decision from internal departments is stored in a single department file called Amana and is represented in External website.

Therefore, the external department will be able to view the decision from internal system as well as from the other external departments on the Digging Information System with internet access. This makes the license issuing authority to view the decisions from all departments and their status at the same time for each and every order.

This is a secured application as users with only valid login identities can access it. Applications hold different privileges for contractors and for users from each department. There are different functionalities which a user is privileged to access like creating new dig order, viewing own orders, viewing other department orders, approving or rejecting an order etc.

For every new digging project to be carried out for any utility purpose, a contractor shall supply the details on fields in New-Order form to concerned utility department through the online system. The details of the order are saved in Oracle database and can be accessed by both the external (internet) and internal (intranet) parts of digging application, as they both share the database.

A new dig-order contains fields like contractor name, order number, depth, width, date, stage, coordinates of the digging path etc. Coordinates shall be submitted (simply paste in the text area of New-Order form) in a unique format as shown below. X and Y are the projected coordinates on ground and explanation for section is followed.

Section and Stages
Coordinates which are submitted online has x, y and section Here, change of section represents the change in the continuity of line. Points of the same section number are connected to each other but next point having different section number is considered as new first point and will connect all those points having the same section number. Hence any discontinuity or turning in the digging path can be mapped easily. Another important factor to be considered is that any single digging project can have multiple stages. Each stage could differ with its location of digging path, geometry and start date, which means same order number can have multiple digging stages. So, every new order is created using three primary keys they are order number, date and stage.


Dig order check by owner department
Utility department will then fill the order details from the Online Digging system. Once the order is submitted, it can be viewed in the list of orders called from function ‘ViewMyOrders’. But this new order will not be shown to other departments since it will be in test status. Under ‘test’ status, the order is private to owner department and also represented with a test symbol. Test status is meant for the department to check the validity of order details, whether contractor owes any penalty or examine it on map with function ‘ShowOrderOnMap’ and get confirmed to send it into the cycle where all other departments will give their decision to approve or reject. The owner department then clicks on function ‘Show To All Depts’, which then changes its status as well as symbol from Test to Pending. Pending symbol is shown in the column for other departments and in row of that particular order number.

This Function plays an important role in decision-making as it involves map. No sooner than a new dig-order is submitted online, other department would be able to view the details of that order in text format and on map as shown in the

Fig. 3 Dig order check by owner department

Fig. 4 Display order on map

figure 3 and 4. Co-ordinates of the order are read from the table in order database and using Mapx, a line of red color and thick width is created on temp layer and overlayed on other spatial layers.

Symbolic representation for status of the order

Test Status- This Symbol for test status or when the order is in dormant stage and this order not yet Approved or send into the cycle system by the Owner Department who is Login.

Pending- For every order waiting for decision from other departments are in pending status represented by the above symbol

Approved- This Symbols represent for approval from the Concerned Department who gave the decision.

Reject- When a Department rejects on order owned by the department, he shall then necessarily specify the reason for rejection. This Symbol is hyperlinked to ASP page, which display or show the specified rejection from oracle database.

Approved (Red)- Every new Order in the cycle has a Limited life time of 3 Working days within this duration any department fails to give his decision to order belonging to other Departments, it will be then implicity accepted represented by Red Symbol above.

Owner- This symbol in the row of each particular order no. stands for owner department. This function basically shows all the orders, which are owned by other departments. And all the orders of the owner department will be displayed in ‘showmyorders’ window. The window consists of columns for departments and order number and each row displays the order number and status from each department under the column. Each display of order show who is owner, and then decision from other departments in symbolic representation

Show other orders
This Function will open the dynamic page, displaying all dig orders belonging to other utility departments. The orders in this page are waiting or pending for the decision (Approval or Reject) from the department who is logged in. This Window also contains commands to approve or reject any dig-Order. The user shall select the dig order from the list and clicks on reject command there after a new decision will open as shown in Fig.5 containing fields for details of rejection or acception. Coordinates of each order are saved in oracle database with its order number. These coordinates are drawn on a Temp layer created using MapXtreme and overlay on other spatial layers with red and thick line width. Followed by zoom to order where user can zoom in or zoom out or pan or zoom to full extent.

Fig. 5 Display other orders
Digging Information Systems has been implemented successfully and found to be very instrumental in solving problems faced due to a lot of paper work. It saves time, and provides security and assurance. Improvements can be made in future like:

Report creation for each department to display graph containing information such as number of accepted orders, numbers of pending orders.

Automatic SMS or email facility to provide communication among all the departments. Improvements in the mapping part with commands to spatial queries and thematic query on digging orders. Introducing VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language) for 3D Modelling of dig order path in order to understand the depth information more precisely.

References from websites:
https://extranet.mapinfo.com/support/documentation/manuals.cfm#mapx https://extranet.mapinfo.com/support/documentation/manuals.cfm#mapxtrement

References from Other Literature:
Bodum, L., I. Afman and J. Smith, 1998. Spatial planning moves out of the flatlands, in: Proceedings of AGILE, Enschede, The Netherlands.

Tempfli, K., 1998. Urban 3D topologic data and texture by digital photogrammetry, in:Proceeding of ISPRS, March-April, Tempa, Florida, USA, CD-ROM.

Hall, Carl – L. 1994 Technical Foundation of Client/Server Systems. Newyork : John Wiley and Sons, inc.